Tsutomu Tomita to stand down

ToyotaTsutomu Tomita will stand down from his role as Chairman and Team Principal of Toyota at the end of June 2007. He will be replaced by Tadashi Yamashina, who is Toyota’s current Motorsport Vice Chairman.

Tomita has spent the last 4 years in Germany at Toyota Motorsport’s headquarters. He will be returning to Japan to focus on other activities within the Toyota group. Exact details of his new assignments will be released when the Board of Directors meetings and shareholders has been completed.

Tomita has been an integral part of Toyota’s motorsports for many years. In 1987, he took charge of motorsport engines, and during this time, Toyota won World Rally Championships and finished on the podium at Le Mans 24. He joined the board of the Toyota Motor Corporation in 1996, taking control of the group’s motorsport activities including the establishing of Panasonic Toyota Racing.

Talking to reporters, Tomita said, “”Since 2002 I have been involved in Toyota s Formula 1 project which has been one of the most challenging and exciting periods of my career. In fact the detailed preparation for entry into Formula 1 started more than four years before we entered our first race.

“I would like to thank all of those involved in Toyota, Formula 1, at our sponsors and of course at Toyota Motorsport who have welcomed, helped and encouraged me as I have faced this challenge. I am pleased to pass this on to Mr Yamashina whom I am sure will continue to build from the platform which has been established over the past six years.

“I am looking forward to celebrating Toyota s first victory in Formula 1 which I believe will happen sooner rather than later, based on the technological capability and competent team of people which has and is being established in Cologne.”

His successor, Tadashi Yamashina, joined Toyota Motorsport as Vice Chairman in December 2006. He is also Managing Officer of Toyota Motor Corporation in charge of the Motorsport Division and Motorsport Business Management Department.

“Tomita san has been involved in a number of Toyota s motorsport activities throughout his career including Formula 1 from its very beginning,” Yamahina said.

“I will continue the challenge he has pursued over the past years with the same courage and applying vigorous creativity as we strive to become a winning team in the worlds most severe and demanding motorsport, Formula 1. Tsutomu is part of Toyota s Formula 1 heritage and we will remain in close contact with him.”